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Gunman Kevin ‘Flatcap’ Murray agreed to ‘smoke’ Daniel Kinahan for ton of cigarettes

But the former Republican killer died of Motor Neurone Disease just 18 months after the murder of David Byrne

Kevin ‘Flatcap’ Murray running away from the Regency Hotel in 2016

Kevin ‘Flatcap’ Murray in 2017 in Strabane shortly before his death from motor neurone disease

David Byrne

Daniel Kinahan

Michael Barr

Steven MooreSunday World

One of Ireland’s most infamous gunmen Kevin ‘Flatcap’ Murray agreed to ‘smoke’ Daniel Kinahan at the Regency Hotel for a ton of cigarettes, we can reveal.

The former Republican killer, who died of Motor Neurone Disease (MND) just 18 months after the 2016 murder of David Byrne, was to be paid a full shipping container of fags in return for his deadly services.

But it is unclear if the Strabane-based ‘gun-for-hire’ ever even received a single ‘tab’ for his troubles.

Sources who knew him say the stress of trying to avoid the Kinahan’s revenge accellerated his illness and killed him in just 18 months.

Kevin ‘Flatcap’ Murray in 2017 in Strabane shortly before his death from motor neurone disease

We pictured Flatcap on a mobility scooter a month before his death looking pale and in ill health in 2017 in Strabane.

In the week when three men went on trial in Dublin, charged in connection with the murder of the 33-year-old, criminal sources have for the first time revealed what some of the death squad sent to kill the Kinahan cartel member were to be paid for doing their bidding.

Gerry Hutch, the man known as ‘The Monk’, of the Paddocks, Clontarf in Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of David Byrne at the hotel on 5 February 2016.

Two other men, 50-year-old Jason Bonney of Drumnigh Wood, Portmarnock, and 59-year-old Paul Murphy from Cabra Road have also pleaded not guilty to helping a criminal gang to commit the murder by providing it with access to motor vehicles.

David Byrne

But the trial has brought back memories of one of the most shocking gangland attacks which was captured by photographers and in which the deceased Co Tyrone men – Kevin Murray – was pivotal in taking part.

“Flatcap agreed to carry out the murder of Daniel Kinahan for a container of fags,” sources we met this week told us.

“The Hutch gang made millions over the years from illegal shipments of fags and it was a cheap and easy way of paying debts.

“Flatcap thought he’d make a couple of hundred thousand pounds by moving them on and the cops weren’t that bothered with illegal fags so it was low risk.”

The images of ‘Flatcap’ Murray and his fellow shooters, some dressed as cops and one dressed as a woman, went around the world given the brazen audacity of the carefully planned but shocking hit.

Flatcap and the rest of the gang were there to target Daniel Kinahan who was in the hotel for the weigh-in of a fight the gangster was promoting.

The attack was believed to be revenge for the murder of Gary Hutch in Spain in 2015 which sparked the bloody Kinhan-Hutch Feud which has cost the lives of at least 18 people.

And the source has claimed Flatcap Murray was brought into the Regency death gang by friend and fellow Co Tyrone republican Michael Barr, who was murdered just a couple of months later by the Kinahan cartel at the Sunset Lounge pub in Dublin.

The claim that Michael Barr was involved in the Regency Hotel has always been denied by his family and did not feature in court.

Michael Barr

“Mickey Barr was working in a bar on Hutch’s patch and he was well got with him,” said the source.

“Mickey said he knew a man who would be ideal for the job. That man was Flatcap. They went back together for years.

“Flatcap did time for shootings before, including a UDR man, and Mickey knew he had the balls to carry out such a mad operation.”

He added: “He was murdered because he was involved. He wasn’t killed just because he was a friend of Kevin Murray. Mickey brought Flatcap into the gang.”

Barr, a father of five, was shot a total of seven times at the Sunset House Pub, which was holding a raffle for the families of Republican prisoners on the night he was murdered in April 2016, just two months after the Regency Hotel attack.

The 35-year-old was socialising at the pub, where he was a manager, when two armed males burst in wearing what have been described as ‘Freddy Krueger’, or Halloween masks.

But former pals of Flatcap’s have told the Sunday World the stress of trying not to be murdered by the Kinahans in revenge for the Regency Hotel attack accelerated his incurable disease and eventual death.

“Flatcap was a dead-man walking in more ways than one,” said the source. “Not just because he had been identified leaving the Regency Hotel but because he was ill.

“If he knew about having Motor Neurone Disease at the time he didn’t tell many people so I don’t know if he knew he had it when he carried out the attack.

Daniel Kinahan

“There’s video footage of him stalking about the hotel looking for Kinahan and other targets and then you see him running away from the hotel. It was less than a year when he was confined to a wheelchair and only a year-and-a-half before he died.

“But the stress of knowing he was being hunted made his condition much worse. He was paranoid and he was right to be.

“He’d been identified red-handed trying to kill Daniel Kinahan. When you try and kill the ‘King’ and fail it’s only a matter of time before the ‘King’ roars back.

“And that’s what happened. Loads of people, like Michael Barr got murdered as a result.

“And because of that Flatcap was shunned by his old Republican pals. People distanced themselves from him and he knew he was on his own. People were scared to be associated in case they got caught up in the fire.

“He was going around Strabane from house-to-house until his illness made that impossible.”

Despite a European Arrest Warrant on charges connected to the Regency Hotel murder of David Byrne, a judge later ruled the alleged killer with dissident Republican links was too ill to stand trial.

Three months before his death, it was confirmed that Murray was bed-ridden, immobile and being fed via a tube and the battle to extradite him ended.

Judge Patricia Smyth said at Belfast Recorder’s Court that the “only appropriate course I can take is to discharge the requested person.”

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